Today I’m joined by Cindy Wallace, author and mental health therapist, who is here for her first podcast to speak loud about healing from PTSD. Cindy has a bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing, as well as a master’s in Social Work, and as a writer has had more than 15 published articles and award-winning prose.
Cindy describes that trauma often cuts life into a clean ‘before’ and ‘after.’ She was 16 when she was kidnapped and abused over 24 hours, while no one knew she was gone. When she returned home, she was “catatonic,” and felt she was watching someone else live her life through a lens.
Her brain kept telling her to survive, and Cindy did so by pretending she was someone else. She was eventually diagnosed with severe dissociation and chronic PTSD but had blocked the trauma out completely. She had no idea why she had changed or what had happened to her for another 15 years.
At 31, Cindy’s trauma resurfaced while writing a story for creative fiction, resulting in a psychotic break and a 2-week admittance to in-patient. From there, she put in an incredible amount of work to rebuild. Cindy was determined to keep moving and doing things with her life. She has three kids, and at the time, they were her driving force to persevere. While recovering, Cindy learned to use mindfulness as a way to get through the day. “All you have to do is put one foot on the floor,” Cindy told herself, continuing like that throughout the day. Everything went one step at a time.
At first, Cindy rejected the “everything happens for a reason” narrative. She constantly questioned what happened to her, and why. Eventually, she realized that she created her own reason, and decided on a career that gave her purpose. She has been a therapist for 6 years now after completing her master’s in social work.
Cindy explains how she processes everything through writing, and over the past year has finished writing her book on her journey. Some of the scenes took months to write, as she had to revisit everything that happened to her. When the pandemic hit, she experienced another breakdown, but this time found a community within the pandemic who supported her.
Cindy’s journey has been an amazing one, but she notes that trauma is often not as ‘big’ as many people think. “Trauma is defined as anything that surpasses your ability to cope,” she tells listeners. Cindy hopes people know that they’re never too far gone and that they can start healing from where they are right now.
Listen in to hear more about Cindy’s healing journey, her experience as a therapist, Ayahuasca retreats, and other healing modalities.
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